Review: Canobie Lake Park Screeemfest, Salem, NH (5 stars)

Last year, the team from Events INSIDER went on a 10-day Halloween blitz! In October 2013, I visited 28 attractions to bring you reviews and information on everything Halloween in New England. We went indoors and outdoors as far north as New Hampshire, as far south as Rhode Island, and as far west as Connecticut. Don’t forget to visit, where we list more creative October events than anyplace else!

Canobie Lake Park is the second biggest but my favorite amusement park in New England. Six Flags is way too commercial for me. At Canobie Lake, no one will take a photo of you and then badger you for $10. You won’t feel like they’re trying to suck every dollar out of you: even parking is free! Canobie Lake has a real lake and forest, and in the summer you can spend a mellow day strolling around and riding attractions like the Ferris wheel, riverboat, and sky gondola. Now in the fall, the water rides shut down and they open for Screeemfest and Oktoberfest.

Oktoberfest is basically a stage for bands where they sell German weiners, but it makes you smile and there’s nothing like exploring a venue outdoors in the night. Just make sure to bring a coat! We rode two roller coasters but were afraid of the third, which is new and very twisty. Except for the Psycho-Drome there weren’t any non-water rides that we saw closed. You can easily spend the entire evening there and there are a lot of rides for tiny kids, too.

As for the haunted attractions, well… I’ve learned that the more commercial the venue the less artistry is involved. The Dead Shed is an F-level attraction that features rubber chickens and a lot of rope. The lighting, the actors, and the stacks of old tires seem thrown together rather than planned out. At least the line was short! Our favorite of the 5 haunted attractions was “Virus”, because it had a real theme, and kudos to the female actor who performed contortionist twists as though infected! One of the attractions had a “vortex”, where the room seems to spin (see photo). But really, you don’t go to Canobie Lake Park for the haunted attractions. I’m glad to give the venue 5 stars for the joy of the rides themselves. Everyone has great fun at Canobie Lake Park and that enthusiasm is itself infectious, and it’s driven further by the rock band on stage, roar of the rides, and views of the lake. If you like to eat healthy, though, eat before you go, as only carnival food is available. (I think I actually did see salads amongst the fried foods and wieners at the Oktoberfest tent. I did not buy one. URP.) VIP tickets are not available, but the waits in line were not long.

This review was from Events INSIDER’s 2013 10-day Halloween blitz, where we visited 28 attractions across New England. Visit, where you’ll find more fun Halloween and October events than anywhere else!